About gynocentrism

Gynocentrism (n.) refers to a dominant focus on women’s needs and wants relative to men’s needs and wants. This can happen in the context of cultural conventions, institutional policies, and in gendered relationships.1   

[see here for more dictionary definitions of gynocentrism]

Introduction

Cultural gynocentrism arose in Medieval Europe during a period cross-cultural influences and momentous changes in gendered customs. Beginning in the 12th century, European society birthed an intersection of Arabic poetry elevating and venerating women, aristocratic courting trends, the Marian cult, along with the imperial patronage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her daughter Marie De Champagne who together crafted the military notion of chivalry into a notion of servicing ladies, a practice otherwise known as ‘courtly love.’

Courtly love was enacted by minstrels, playrights and troubadours, and especially via hired romance-writers like Chrétien de Troyes and Andreas Capellanus who laid down a model of romantic fiction that is still the biggest grossing genre of literature today. That confluence of factors generated the cultural conventions that continue to drive gynocentrism today.

Gynocentrism as a cultural phenomenon

The primary elements of gynocentric culture, as we experience it today, are derived from practices originating in medieval society such as feudalism, chivalry and courtly love that continue to inform contemporary society in subtle ways. Such gynocentric patters constitute a “sexual feudalism,” as attested by female writers like Lucrezia Marinella who in 1600 AD recounted that women of lower socioeconomic classes were treated as superiors by men who acted as servants or beasts born to serve them, or by Modesta Pozzo who in 1590 wrote;

“don’t we see that men’s rightful task is to go out to work and wear themselves out trying to accumulate wealth, as though they were our factors or stewards, so that we can remain at home like the lady of the house directing their work and enjoying the profit of their labors? That, if you like, is the reason why men are naturally stronger and more robust than us — they need to be, so they can put up with the hard labor they must endure in our service.”2

The golden casket above depicting scenes of servile behaviour toward women were typical of courtly love culture of the Middle Ages. Such objects were given to women as gifts by men seeking to impress. Note the woman standing with hands on hips in a position of authority, and the man being led around by a neck halter, his hands clasped in a position of subservience.

It’s clear that much of what we today call gynocentrism was invented in the Middle Ages with the cultural practices of romantic chivalry and courtly love. In 12th century Europe, feudalism served as the basis for a new model for love in which men were to play the role of vassal to women who played the role of an idealized Lord.

C.S. Lewis, back in the middle of the 20th Century, referred to this historical revolution as “the feudalisation of love,” and stated that it has left no corner of our ethics, our imagination, or our daily life untouched. “Compared with this revolution,” states Lewis, “the Renaissance is a mere ripple on the surface of literature.”3 Lewis further states;

“Everyone has heard of courtly love, and everyone knows it appeared quite suddenly at the end of the eleventh century at Languedoc. The sentiment, of course, is love, but love of a highly specialized sort, whose characteristics may be enumerated as Humility, Courtesy, and the Religion of Love. The lover is always abject. Obedience to his lady’s lightest wish, however whimsical, and silent acquiescence in her rebukes, however unjust, are the only virtues he dares to claim. Here is a service of love closely modelled on the service which a feudal vassal owes to his lord. The lover is the lady’s ‘man’. He addresses her as midons, which etymologically represents not ‘my lady’ but ‘my lord’. The whole attitude has been rightly described as ‘a feudalisation of love’. This solemn amatory ritual is felt to be part and parcel of the courtly life.” 4

With the advent of (initially courtly) women being elevated to the position of ‘Lord’ in intimate relationships, and with this general sentiment diffusing to the masses and across much of the world today, we are justified in talking of a gynocentric cultural complex that affects, among other things, relationships between men and women. Further, unless evidence of widespread gynocentric culture can be found prior to the Middle Ages, then  gynocentrism is precisely 800 years old. In order to determine if this thesis is valid we need to look further at what we mean by “gynocentrism”.

The term gynocentrism has been in circulation since the 1800’s, with the general definition being “focused on women; concerned with only women.”5 From this definition we see that gynocentrism could refer to any female-centered practice, or to a single gynocentric act carried out by one individual. There is nothing inherently wrong with a gynocentric act (eg. celebrating Mother’s Day) , or for that matter an androcentric act (celebrating Father’s Day). However when a given act becomes instituted in the culture to the exclusion of other acts we are then dealing with a hegemonic custom — i.e. such is the relationship custom of elevating women to the position of men’s social, moral or spiritual superiors.

Author of Gynocentrism Theory Adam Kostakis has attempted to expand the definition of gynocentrism to refer to “male sacrifice for the benefit of women” and “the deference of men to women,” and he concludes; “Gynocentrism, whether it went by the name honor, nobility, chivalry, or feminism, its essence has gone unchanged. It remains a peculiarly male duty to help the women onto the lifeboats, while the men themselves face a certain and icy death.”6

While we can agree with Kostakis’ descriptions of assumed male duty, the phrase gynocentric culture more accurately carries his intention than gynocentrism alone. Thus when used alone in the context of this website gynocentrism refers to part or all of gynocentric culture, which is defined here as any culture instituting rules for gender relationships that benefit females at the expense of males across a broad range of measures.

At the base of gynocentric culture lies the practice of enforced male sacrifice for the benefit of women. If we accept this definition we must look back and ask whether male sacrifices throughout history were always made for the sake women, or alternatively for the sake of some other primary goal? For instance, when men went to die in vast numbers in wars, was it for women, or was it rather for Man, King, God and Country? If the latter we cannot then claim that this was a result of some intentional gynocentric culture, at least not in the way I have defined it here. If the sacrifice isn’t intended directly for the benefit women, even if women were occasional beneficiaries of male sacrifice, then we are not dealing with gynocentric culture.

Male utility and disposability strictly “for the benefit of women” comes in strongly only after the advent of the 12th century gender revolution in Europe – a revolution that delivered us terms like gallantry, chivalry, chivalric love, courtesy, damsels, romance and so on. From that period onward gynocentric practices grew exponentially, culminating in the demands of today’s feminist movement. In sum, gynocentrism (ie. gynocentric culture) was a patchy phenomenon at best before the middle ages, after which it became ubiquitous.

With this in mind it makes little sense to talk of gynocentric culture starting with the industrial revolution a mere 200 years ago (or 100 or even 30 yrs ago), or of it being two million years old as some would argue. We are not only fighting two million years of genetic programming; our culturally constructed problem of gender inequity is much simpler to pinpoint and to potentially reverse. All we need do is look at the circumstances under which gynocentric culture first began to flourish and attempt to reverse those circumstances. Specifically, that means rejecting the illusions of romantic love (feudalised love), along with the practices of misandry, male shaming and servitude that ultimately support it.

La Querelle des Femmes, and advocacy for women

The Querelle des Femmes translates as the “quarrel about women” and amounts to what we might today call a gender-war. The querelle had its beginning in twelfth century Europe and finds its culmination in the feminist-driven ideology of today (though some authors claim, unconvincingly, that the querelle came to an end in the 1700s).

The basic theme of the centuries-long quarrel revolved, and continues to revolve, around advocacy for the rights, power and status of women, and thus Querelle des Femmes serves as the originating title for gynocentric discourse.

To place the above events into a coherent timeline, chivalric servitude toward women was elaborated and given patronage first under the reign of Eleanor of Aquitaine (1137-1152) and instituted culturally throughout Europe over the subsequent 200 year period. After becoming thus entrenched on European soil there arose the Querelle des Femmes which refers to the advocacy culture that arose for protecting, perpetuating and increasing female power in relation to men that continues, in an unbroken tradition, in the efforts of contemporary feminism.7

Writings from the Middle Ages forward are full of testaments about men attempting to adapt to the feudalisation of love and the serving of women, along with the emotional agony, shame and sometimes physical violence they suffered in the process. Gynocentric chivalry and the associated querelle have not received much elaboration in men’s studies courses to-date, but with the emergence of new manuscripts and quality English translations it may be profitable to begin blazing this trail.8

References

1. Wright, P., What’s in a suffix? taking a closer look at the word gyno–centrism
2. Modesta Pozzo, The Worth of Women: their Nobility and Superiority to Men
3. C.S. Lewis, Friendship, chapter in The Four Loves, HarperCollins, 1960
4. C.S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love, Oxford University Press, 1936
5. Dictionary.com – Gynocentric
6. Adam Kostakis, Gynocentrism Theory – (Published online, 2011). Although Kostakis assumes gynocentrism has been around throughout recorded history, he singles out the Middle Ages for comment: “There is an enormous amount of continuity between the chivalric class code which arose in the Middle Ages and modern feminism… One could say that they are the same entity, which now exists in a more mature form – certainly, we are not dealing with two separate creatures.”
7. Joan Kelly, Early Feminist Theory and the Querelle des Femmes (1982), reprinted in Women, History and Theory, UCP (1984)
8. The New Male Studies Journal has published thoughtful articles touching on the history and influence of chivalry in the lives of males.

Transphobia vs. Manphobia

Discussion about transgenderism is all the rage, with many people railing against what they view as a Frankenstein fad, and yet others who are encouraging the trend beyond what anyone would consider reasonable limits – e.g., gender-affirming surgery for children. A third approach is that of the social phenomenologist which accounts for people (including myself) who are more interested in making sense of the phenomenon before screaming blue murder to the sky.

Most people appear eager to discover what Aristotle called the “efficient cause” that might lead men to become transwomen — with the most popular ’causes’ being those of gender dysphoria, and autogynephilia which both end up falling short of sufficient explanations, for reasons I’ll discuss below.

Autogynephilia

Autogynephilia is defined as a male’s propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought of himself as a female. It’s a paraphilia that is theorized to underlie transvestism and some forms of male-to-female transsexualism,1 as showcased in the below tweet by a transwoman.

If ‘getting off’ by appearing as the opposite sex were the only motive we might reasonably assume that occasional cross-dressing and/or erotic roleplay would scratch the itch, but transgender individuals are clearly seeking a more permanent goal. Moreover, many transgender individuals experience a loss of sexual arousal after medically transitioning, indicating that the securing of permanent autogynephilic pleasure is not a sufficient explanation for making the change.2

Gender dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is the favorite go-to for advocates of traditional gender roles who pretentiously claim the body and psyche can only be exact Xerox copies of each other. As tidy as this formula sounds on its face, even people with a rudimentary understanding of human psychology will see its failings; failings demonstrated by the fact that everyone has an imaginative and psychological identity that is, at least in some ways, at odds with bodily reality:

  • A stunningly beautiful woman identifies as plain, or ugly.
  • A fat guy identifies as muscled and skinny.
  • An old man identifies himself healthy, as fit as a teenager.
  • A little girl identifies as a world-class singer.
  • A little boy identifies as the best violinist in the world.
  • A feminist identifies as more caring than others.
  • A person identifies as more intelligent than others.
  • A person born of privilege identifies as restricted.
  • An underprivileged person identifies as someone who can be and do anything.
    Etc.

The psyche tends to ramble off in fanciful ways that do not match seamlessly with physical reality, and it has done this since way back in our evolutionary history. Psychological identity is not, and never will be, a faithful replica of physical reality…. and yet human civilization has continued to thrive in spite of this propensity.

With that human capacity for imagination in mind we can set aside those who champion seamless sex-and-gender identities, and associated social roles. We can also find some fault with Matt Walsh’s recent insistence that there can be one, and only one definition of a woman.3 While Matt is 100% correct in stating that there is only one definition of a biological woman, he conveniently omits the possibility that there may be a definition of ‘woman’ applying to a person’s psychological identity, thus essentially giving us two definitions of woman corresponding to the soma/psyche split.

To reiterate, we all see the obvious XX woman of the body, and then there’s the woman of psychological/imaginal identity which can operate somewhat independently of the former (hence transgenders, intergenders, etc). To illustrate this, Matt Walsh could have a body that looks like Matt Walsh but, hypothetically speaking, in his imaginative and psychological identity he might be more like Napoleon Bonaparte; when it comes to the human psyche anything is possible.

While all this might sound like a recipe for confusion, it isn’t really. Dictionaries attest to the ability of the human mind to accept multiple definitions of a word. I can be stoned to death by literal rocks, and I can be stoned after smoking weed. I can suffer a physical pain, or alternatively I can be in psychological pain – and those ‘two pains’ might not be seamless pains going on at the same time; they might be completely unrelated.

When it comes to the public furor around this topic, the comical part is watching traditional conservatives argue there is only soma, and the progressives argue there’s only psyche. The stupidity of these two partial arguments – and the debate between them – make for the best Punch and Judy show on offer.

If I wanted to take a more strictly phenomenological approach to our topic, I might be forced to say transwomen were both male and female. For example being a woman in one’s imaginative identity will never mean that the chromosomal body has also changed, which indicates there are two identities running concurrently, one male and one female. That said, I appreciate that imagination can override the phenomenological approach to the point of absurdum.

What we can conclude from the more narrow arguments is that they are reductionist and kneejerk responses to a complex phenomenon, and so they provide insufficient explanations for the rise of transgender identity. They may be partially correct but it may help to consider more complex equations, not to mention the approaching of each trans person as possessing a unique biography that led them to become who they are. Following this line of thought I’d like to offer two more factors below that might help to complicate the picture.

Internalized misandry, and gyneolatry

I’ve observed in the rhetoric of many transwomen both an externalized and an internalized misandry. This appears in descriptions of the men they know, and in descriptions of themselves, and they also tend to rehearse feminist depictions of maleness that portray narrow and denigrating descriptions of masculinity. Conversely, transwomen tend to idealize women and femininity (i.e., gyneolatry),4 leading to a conclusion that the feminine grass is of a greener hue.

The sense of internalized misandry was reinforced by a 1991 study which found that mothers of young boys with gender dysphoria frequently suffered psychiatric disorders and that these boys exhibited chronic suffering that was often expressed directly by them as self-hate. One such boy at age three said:

“I hate myself. I don’t want to be me. I want to be somebody else. I want to be a girl.”5

When a man’s potential masculinity is felt as toxic due to the operation of internalized misandry, it’s only natural that such a person would have a dysphoric reaction to masculine selfhood. This might be understood as a pathological reaction, but it can be equally viewed as a healthy adaptation to an unhealthy, male-denigrating environment — for if I renounce maleness I protect myself from corrosive states of imposed self-hatred, along with de-personalizing those attacks directed at me from a misandric world.

Hence gender dysphoria is in some ways adaptive.

The position I have been leading to can be stated simply this way: Internalized misandry + gyneolatry + autogynephilia = transwoman. Of those three factors, I would consider autogynephilia somewhat more variable than the other two, and while often present, it is not always.

In order to render this triplicate formula more palpable, I encourage readers to watch the following Benjamin Boyce interview with former trans individual NJada6 who masterfully illustrates the operation of internalized misandry and gyneolatry in his own experiences.


In conclusion, this article claims that autogynephilia, and gender dysphoria prove insufficient as “causes” of the desire to transition but may nevertheless operate as one factor among many. As a student of gender politics I have expanded the causa efficiens to three:

Internalized misandry + gyneolatry + autogynephilia = transwoman.

Lastly, and on a more general note Kara Dansky,7 a trans-exclusionary radical feminist who is leading the charge against transgender individuals, recently tweeted“It is, in effect, a men’s rights movement intended to objectify women’s bodies and erase us as a class. It is left-wing misogyny on steroids. I say this is as a leftist and a Democrat.”

In response I feel it important to clarify that the transgender movement is not a cause célèbre driven by men’s rights advocates, but rather the current support for transgender individuals/rights is derived from the power of government administrations and global regimes playing “freedom one-upmanship” – ie., the feigning of moral purity to position themselves at top of the global hierarchy.

Feminists were the ones who cleared this forest path for the global elites to walk on, and Dansky is right in the sense that it opens a window to become of benefit to men’s rights movement – ie. it dissolves customary culture privileges that have accumulated around the female sex, making those privileges available to all humans, including men and boys, for the first time.8

References:

[1] Ray Blanchard, Autogynephilia: an underappreciated paraphilia, (2019) ; See also: C. Moser, Autogynephilia in Women (2009), which shows that autogynephilia also exists in large numbers of natal women, negating Blanchard’s thesis that it does not.
[2] Autogynephilia | ContraPoints (2018)
[3] Matt Walsh: What Is A Woman? (2022)
[4] Gyneolotry | Gynocentrism And Its Origins
[5] Sonia Marantz and Susan Coates, Mothers of Boys with Gender Identity Disorder: A Comparison of Matched Controls (1991)
[6] Benjamin Boyce, Transition and Redemption | a Detrans Story, with NJada (2022)
[7] Kara Dansky, The Abolition of Sex: How the “Transgender” Agenda Harms Women and Girls (2021)
[8] Peter Wright, Unintended Effects Of Transgender Activism On Men’s Issues (2021)

A Cultural Convention Condemned – The Men’s Review (1948 Article)

The following article appeared in the 1948 edition of the ‘Men’s Review’ – an antifeminist, pro men’s rights initiative that was active in Britain during the 1940s. This will be the first of a series of articles to be published on this website from the first editions of the Men’s Review, which will also be the first time these articles have been made available in digital form for the internet.  – PW

* * *

A Convention Condemned

by “Woman’s View”

MANY features of modern society have struck me as extremely odd. Among these, perhaps that which seems to me the oddest is the curious convention whereby a gentleman who goes to a place of entertainment, or to a place of refreshment, with a lady, is expected to pay the bill without any help from her.

After deep reflection I have decided that this convention (nine out of ten observed only when people of the opposite sex are together) annoys me intensely. I will try to summarise my main objections to this convention with utmost brevity.

First, I think the convention unfair. Unfair because it puts upon the shoulders of men the financial burden which, according to logic, should be shared by women. For generally speaking our participation in the benefits paid for is at least equal to the man’s. In modern times we women are, with a diminishing number of exceptions, as well off as our male counterparts.

Secondly, it leads to a greater extravagance than would exist under a “fifty-fifty” system, since the man is placed in the position in which he is not able to suggest economising on the expenses, while where he able to regard the woman as a share-and-share-alike partner, he could suggest economy without embarrassment at all.

Thirdly, the convention tends in many cases to put inter-sex relationships upon a commercial footing. The woman tends to prefer the man who takes her to the half-a-crown seats to the otherwise equally attractive man who takes her in the one-and-sixpenny seats. I happen to believe in equality of opportunity, and it is psychologically bad for women since it tends to make for an unnatural suppression of our real affections beneath the gold-digging smartness.

I AM REVOLTED

The man is tempted to wonder what return he is going to have for the money he has paid out and to arrive at what appears to be a reasonable explanation, mainly that his return will be in terms of kisses and caresses. Hereupon he, and for that matter the woman too, may begin to regard kisses and caresses as something for sale, and idea which, in my opinion, is revolting.

Much could be said in discussion of this convention, which, as I hope to have shown, links up with our modern social outlook in an enormous number of ways.

The success of such an attempt would mean that we have changed the course of social history, and changed it, I believe, for the better. I do not deny that the thrill of this thought is as much of an inspiration as a mere desire to profit ourselves from the more convenient and fair system which I have advocated.

To those scoffers who say “You can’t change human nature,” “Every woman has her price,” or whatever expression you may use, I have only to point out the vast changes in inter-sex relationships that have taken place in our lifetime and those changes for which the Society (for men’s rights) will most surely bring about.

Nothing Envy and the Fascration Complex – by David L. Miller

The following excerpts are from David L. Miller’s 1991 essay Why Men Are Mad: Nothing Envy and The Fascration Complex. At a time when multiple sexualities are now topical, including transgendered identities, Miller’s essay provides an imaginative springboard for contemporary audiences. In this article Miller emphasizes men’s adherence to ‘patriarchal’ fantasies while simultaneously harboring a wish to be free of same, and while ‘patriarchy theory’ was a feminist invention of 1980s-90s when the author penned these thoughts (now considered an imaginary artifact that holds questionable explanatory power), the essay itself contributes new and complimentary layers to Freud’s ‘penis envy’ theory. He does this by posing that men, too, may envy the un-membered state of womanhood. Whether this perspective aids in better understanding the dynamics of transgender and other sexualities will be left to the imagination of the reader.

________________________________________________________________________

NothingEnvy and the Fascration Complex

By David L. Miller

One clue to the hurt men feel, to their crazy rage, can be discerned in an essay entitled “Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes” (1925), where Freud describes a traumatic moment of childhood, the discovery of penis envy. The little girl “has seen it and knows that she is without it and wants to have it” (252).

But, according to Freud, the little boy’s experience, or at least the screen-memory of the experience, is different. Only later when confronted with the threat of castration does the boy or man recall the sight of the little girl. Then he knows of the real possibility of losing a part of his body. There arises an anxiety — the so-called “castration complex” — together with two possible reactions to women: either “horror of the mutilated creature” or “triumphant contempt for her” (Freud, 1961: 252; 1959; 1964b; Du Bois: 10-11). The neurotic consequence of childhood trauma for the woman is envy and inferiority; for the man, anxiety and superiority.

There is an asymmetry in Freud’s theory. Why has he not moved to observe envy in the man as in the woman, and anxiety in the woman as in the man? Is there no complex in the woman to correspond to castration in the man? And is there no envy in the man to correspond to the envy for the penis in the woman?

A few theorists and therapists have wondered about these questions. Bruno Bettelheim thought that “penis envy in girls and castration anxiety in boys have been over-emphasized” by psychoanalysis, and that there is “a possibly much deeper psychological layer in boys that has been relatively neglected.” He called this deeper matter “vagina envy” (20). Karen Horney, also, has spoken of a “femininity complex” in men and has raised the question of “why no corresponding impulse to compensate herself for her penis envy is found in women” (61; also 21, 60). But in this theorizing, the envy noted in the male has to do with the woman’s ability to bear children, “pregnancy envy,” as Eric Fromm calls it (233). This focuses on only one aspect of woman, an aspect which a patriarchal tradition is eager to totalize.

* * *

If the little girl sees something, and then envies this thing, one could say that the little boy sees nothing and envies that nothing. The traumatic physical moment produces psychological “nothing-envy.” Nothing-envy is the desire lurking as the diabolical other-side of the castration anxiety. The fundamental ambivalence of the psyche demands that a person face the two-sidedness of fear. There is a latent wish in the symptom of anxiety. Castration is what a man wants as well as what he most fears. What does a man want? Nothing.

* * *

Similarly, men have no desire to be deprived of their penises. This is not what nothing-envy is about. The penis, besides being an efficient piece of plumbing, gives a good deal of pleasure. But the phallus is a different thing. The very patriarchy which has connected dominance, power, aggression, initiative, rational meaning, thinking and commitment to maleness, that perspective which has deprived women of a phallus, has also loaded more on men than they wish to bear. What a relief it would be to be rid of this thing, to have nothing.

Ernest Wallwork has called my attention to evidence of this nothing-envy in men. A bit of play familiar to all men from their days in school locker rooms is that of pulling the penis back and holding it between one’s legs so that one looks like a woman. The play is the symptom of a wish. The little boy looking upon the little girl in wonder experiences both fear and desire. The trauma produces not only a castration complex but also nothing-envy. Mysterium Tremendum et fascinosum: I am afraid of nothing, of losing something, and, at the same time, I am drawn to nothing. Freud noticed the former, but he missed the latter.

* * *

There is a long litany of female affirmations of women’s weavings, and they have little or nothing to do with envy of men. Rather, these testimonies and expressions have deep archetypal rooting in Athena and Arachne, in Persephone, in Philomela, and in Charlotte’s Web (see Gubar: 74, 89, 91). What is the missing female complex to which weaving points? I propose to name it “the fascration complex,” drawing upon a Mediterranean word having to do with weaving. Fasces is a bundle of twigs woven together, a bit of wicker work, the work of the wicca (who is by no means a witch). The term fasces gives us our word “basket,” as well as “fasten,” “fascination,” and “fascist.”

What the little boy sees when he gazes upon what is non-a-thing is the female “basket” and later he will come to admire the webs and tapestries a woman can weave with it. She is anxious about losing her basket, her weaving, her fasces, for this, not the penis, is her power.

* * *

An erotics of male desire discloses a projection of a wish based on lack… a lack of nothing. It is a desire for nothing because men ‘don’t got plenty of nothing.’ The irony, of course, is that that is exactly what they have plenty of — which is why they are mad. The return of the repressed is the return of something that never went away. A man never did not have nothing. If a man could withdraw his projection onto women of nothing, he could be who he is, one-in-himself, male and female, something and nothing. There is nothing of which to be envious. We are always and already nothing.

* * *

Why Men Are Mad: NothingEnvy and the Fascration Complex, by David L Miller, Spring Journal 51, Spring: Dallas, 1991. [FULL TEXT pdf made available by permission of the author].

Is Gynocentrism Adaptive?

What Is Good For The Genes And Society Vs Pedestalising Women

There is a common misconception that what is good for women is good for the propagation of the genome and society. That pedestalising women is interchangeable with maximising the copies of the genome a lineage leaves behind and the survival of society. The reality is far more complicated. This misunderstanding leads to incorrect and frankly bizarre assertions that women are in a biological sense more valuable than men. That a population can only survive if women are protected and prioritised above all other concerns.

The truth is that whilst women have an important reproductive role in giving birth and caring for small infants, this function is merely one activity in a vast web of activities that have to occur for genes to be successfully passed on from one generation to the next. A community can have as many women as it pleases and as many children as it likes and the reality is that it will all amount to precisely nothing in evolutionary terms if basic survival requirements are not addressed. The reality is that the reproductive role of women whilst important, is no more important than many other activities and hardly the overwhelming priority it is presented as.

Gynocentrism is by its very nature a one-dimensional fixation on female well-being. It is an absolute and unconditional pedestalisation of women. All other priorities and needs for society are secondary. The myopic fixation on prioritising female well-being above all else, is actually detrimental to the continuation of a society and passing on the genes. Society is sustained through a complex balancing of priorities. The continuation of the genome itself similarly relies on a complex balancing of priorities.

Life history theory[1] sets out in detail how life strategically allocates finite time, energy and resources towards various activities in an optimal balance. Reproduction and mating are merely two activities. There are dozens of other activities life spends more time, energy and resources on. Some organisms like insects and bacteria have a fast life history strategy, invest little in survival and development and reproduce hundreds or even thousands of offspring. Other species like humans and large vertebrates, have a slow life history strategy and invest substantially more in their own survival and development and reproduce comparatively few offspring.

Humans are a social species and require a complex social system to perpetuate themselves. This social system fundamentally requires a balancing of priorities. The survival of society and also our genetic survival, depends on achieving the correct balance. Gynocentrism destroys this balance. The plummeting fertility rate in developed countries and its connection with gynocentrism has been discussed before by Paul Elam and Peter Wright in their video Chasing The Dragon.[2]

When society puts men down to lift women up, family formation and fertility rates plummet. That is what the hard data tells us. The economic and social conditions for society also begin to decline (as we can see from the effects of fatherlessness and the boy crisis in education for example) and this in turn directly impacts the reproductive prospects of future generations and their children. That is the gynocentric death spiral for society.

I don’t expect this article to change the minds of gynocentric acolytes that insist on propagating the idea that pedestalising women is what nature intended. I expect the consequences of gynocentrism to eventually destroy the societies that produced it. This article hopefully will make it easier for some to understand why society is in decline in part as a result of gynocentrism.

Karen Straughan did an excellent video[3] a decade ago on how our gynocentric society will slowly destroy itself. It is not just the social and economic effects that she discussed we have to worry about, it is now the substantive demographic shortfall in births combined with these effects that spell death for society. A population with a lack of youth cannot sustain an aging population and ultimately replace the people it loses.

A gynocentric culture is a culture of death, not a culture of life. In the end societies that pedestalise women die out.

Gynocentrism is not an evolutionary adaptive set of behaviours. It does not increase the prospects of society or the number of copies of the genome, it reduces them. If gynocentrism were adaptive you would expect this insanely gynocentric culture to be bursting at the seams with children and record fertility rates and yet we see the opposite. If gynocentrism is so adaptive, where are all the babies?

If gynocentrism were adaptive we would see record social and economic progress completely independent of debt from empowering women and marginalising men and yet we see the opposite. We see stagnation, decline, crashes and bubbles from fake financial growth and an ever increasing reliance on debt year by year. If gynocentrism were adaptive we should see obvious indications of that in our gynocentric culture and yet we do not.

Gynocentrism by its nature is unconditional and absolute, it will always inevitably grow to the very extremes until the society that produced it collapses under the weight of it. Gynocentrism is like cancer, it is a pathological growth that disrupts the functional balance of society.

Just consider the negative net social and economic impact of modern divorce and family court on family formation and on the fertility rate of current adults and also the children coming from broken families. Consider the chilling effect of metoo# on relationship formation and the net effect of the boy crisis in education impacting the future prospects of men and women in finding suitable partners to have children, maintain stable relationships and raise children.

It may take decades or centuries, but in the end gynocentrism destroys the foundations of the societies that give rise to it. The family itself is sacrificed for gynocentrism, one of the very building blocks of civilisation. In the past civilisation collapsed faster from other destructive forces before gynocentrism itself could contribute to the implosion. Technology has prolonged the decline of civilisation to such a degree that now social factors like gynocentrism, are directly contributing to the demographic implosion and fragmentation of society.

Gynocentrism Versus Ancestral Pragmatism

Conflating gynocentrism with the protection of women in circumstances where they are objectively in greater danger and are objectively more vulnerable, demonstrates a critical misunderstanding of what gynocentrism is. When you protect women over men merely because they are women, when you prioritise their well-being merely because they are women, then that is gynocentrism.

When you prioritise women’s protection and well-being because they are objectively in greater need of that protection and concern, then it is the physical reality of the situation steering the decision and not some deluded notion women are somehow more deserving of our concern simply because they are women. This same objective reasoning can guide the reverse prioritisation of male well-being where it is warranted.

This simple distinction is what so many fail to grasp. In my article on Diagnosing Gynocentrism[4], I discussed this important distinction in detail. I gave the example of a woman seriously injured in a car accident and the man being only mildly injured. Is it gynocentrism to help the woman first? No. Would it be if the man were seriously injured and the woman only mildly injured? Yes. Note the difference. So when we go back and examine our prehistory and start projecting what we are observing in our modern gynocentric culture back onto the past, we might want to consider the blind psychological fixation on women that drives gynocentrism.

It is certainly the case that in our past there have been numerous instances where women have been objectively in greater need of protection than men given our physical sex differences and the harsh environment’s we often lived in. It is also the case though that such societies could not afford to inefficiently allocate time, energy and resources in such a way as to pedestalise women. The social concern for women in other words had to be contingent on it being for the greater good of the community and grounded in the priority to survive. Blindly pedestalising women wastes time, energy and resources that many past communities had in short supply.

Ultimately it was the greater good of the community and the drive to survive rather than a myopic concern for female well-being, that drove much of the customs and practices seen in our prehistoric past and past civilization’s. That reality is also the case in respect of many of the traditions and laws regarding the roles of men and women in past societies.

It was out of pragmatism in the face of a harsh environment before modern technology rather than blind gynocentrism, that resulted in women in certain instances garnering greater protection than men and men being assigned to more physically dangerous and demanding tasks like war. I am not suggesting such a division was ideal, I am suggesting that out of survival and what actually worked such divisions were undertaken.

Sometimes it was to women’s advantage and other times it was to men’s advantage. We can argue which sex had it worse for hours, but the reality these divisions were not made to favour one sex over the other, or pedestalise women or men, they were made to keep society going and keep people alive.

No society can last without having the greater good of the society and the survival of society in mind as the ultimate check on the misallocation of time, energy and resources. Gynocentrism is a product of a culture that has abandoned such a fundamental balance and that is why inevitably gynocentrism is in part a driver of the collapse of society itself.

Gynocentrism does not prioritise the greater good or the survival of society first, it prioritises female self-interest and well-being at all costs, absolutely and without compromise. The future of society be dammed! The slogan, “The future is female” might as well say the future is death. There are eventually no people and a collapsed society in such a future, based on the data we have and the demographic and socioeconomic trends we are observing.

Male Sacrifice Alone Is Not Evidence Of Gynocentrism

Related to the conflation of gynocentrism with the greater good, is the notion that sacrifice is the sole domain of men and that such sacrifice is somehow proof men are disposable. Disposability infers that men are of little value and are easily replaced. Disposable items are considered disposable for that very reason. Again the reality is far more complex than suggesting men are biologically disposable because they sacrifice their lives and therefore gynocentrism is adaptive.

A male that reproduces and survives will reproduce more than a male that reproduces and then dies. The male that survives to reproduce multiple times will always be at an evolutionary advantage compared to the male that reproduces once and then dies or dies and does not reproduce at all. Over time the man that survives dominates the gene pool. The simple reality is that sacrifice is incidental to men passing on their genes rather than a requirement and that men losing their lives, is a cost that the forces of natural selection select against and minimise.

Yes sexual selection on males does occur and yes that can select for men to adopt traits and behaviours that improve their reproductive fitness at the expense of their long-term survival. However even under sexual selection, males that evolve variations on traits that maintain the same reproductive fitness without incurring the cost of reduced survival, will be at an evolutionary advantage.

Males that get the same job done at a lower cost to themselves, win the evolutionary race. It is basic efficiency that is selected for even under sexual selection. It is not only just whether you reproduce or not that matters, but how efficiently you pass on your genes. Ultimately sacrifice whether it is attributed to sexual selection or not, is an evolutionary cost that selection attempts to minimise even under sexual selection pressures.

Sexual selection does not have to come at the cost of reduced survival for sexual selection to produce traits that the other sex selects for. Males and females can develop traits through sexual selection that have no effect on survival at all or even enhance survival.

Contrary to popular opinion, sexual selection does not override natural selection in the sense of eliminating it, sexual selection is present alongside natural selection. Sexually attractive traits matter little if males with them fail to survive to reproduce or males that survive longer outbreed males with such traits. Ultimately the two forces of selection are in a certain dynamic equilibrium with each other and the eventual evolutionary solution can be the development of traits that satisfy both evolutionary forces or that find the optimal balance between them.

Comparing the forces of sexual selection on human males with male insects etc is fraught with issues. There is a very big difference between the selective dynamics at work on organisms like insects with relatively short lifespans and developmental periods compared to the human male and that demonstrate much higher levels of sexual dimorphism than humans.

Drawing long bows with associating examples of male insects and peacocks with human males is emblematic of the problem of bio-gynocentrism[5] selectively framing biology through a gynocentric lens to support a preconceived narrative and omitting inconvenient facts that do not support such a narrative.

Sexual selection in humans is not just limited to males either, there are numerous examples of sexual selection acting on human females too. Some of these examples actually can reduce female survival and increase their fertility, just as sexual selection does sometimes in males. Of course that won’t be discussed by ideologues set on arguing men serving women is what nature intended, because it does not fit the narrative.

Sacrifice itself is not indicative of disposability either. Valuable people and valuable things can be sacrificed. In fact sometimes the most valuable people sacrifice the most for society and their sacrifice has an impact that lasts centuries and in some cases thousands of years.

Men and males more broadly, are often highly selective on whether and precisely when and how they risk their own lives. If men are biologically programmed to just drop what they are doing, risk their own safety and help a random female stranger, why is it that when they don’t there seems to be a need in our gynocentric culture to socially reinforce this expectation on men and speak up when they don’t throw themselves in harms way? Seems kind of odd to me!

Where was the gynocentric instinct recently on the New York subway[6] for example? Gynocentrism is not hardwired in our brains, it is socially learned and socially enforced and we have clear examples in our society of precisely where that social enforcement is coming from! Gynocentrism plays on biological drives and manipulates them, it is not itself a hardwired instinct. It is rather amusing to see the aggrieved entitlement[7] that gynocentrism produces when it is denied, as more and more men are slowly waking up to the lopsided gynocentric dynamic in society and refusing to go along with it.

Truly disposable creatures in contrast to human males, exercise little discretion when it comes self-sacrifice. They are not picky. There is no thinking involved in such self-sacrifice from creatures that are truly disposable, just reflexive biological processes from relatively simple forms of life that invest very little in their own survival, have short lifespans and quickly and easily replace themselves.

Society, families and partners lose a great deal socially and economically when men die. It also takes decades to replace them and raise the next generation of men. Losing men has a cost and marginalising men has a cost. A considerable cost. Losing too many men and marginalising men, has the effect of destroying societies primary capacity to support its own survival and long-term prosperity.

Consider the multitude of activities men have undertaken in our prehistory right up until the present day. Consider the net result of losing substantial numbers of men needlessly. Consider the net effect of our society marginalising whole generations of men. It is not a coincidence that our economies have increasingly relied on unsustainable levels of debt to keep them going at the same time men have been increasingly marginalised in society.

Societies that make the most of their men and minimise the wasteful loss of men, will outperform societies that don’t. Armies that lose less men win the wars. Sacrifice cannot always be avoided, acknowledgment of such a reality does not mean avoidably losing men needlessly is something our society can accept or sustain.

It is worth noting that sacrifice is not purely the domain of males either. Females do indeed sacrifice for their offspring and do die in the process of reproducing on occasion. Death in childbirth was significantly more frequent up until relatively recently and long-term physical complications even more so. Mothers dying in the process of looking after their children and protecting them were not uncommon either.

Not every female has to live for their offspring to survive. The offspring can be cared for by the rest of the community and by other women if they are still in infancy, if the mother dies after birth or whilst the children are young. Pregnancy does not have to be perfect either. If most women live to give birth a certain incidence of death can persist and it has despite millions of years of evolution and selection.

Not every female even has to live to reproduce for a community to replace itself, just the bare minimum number of women that is required need to survive. Women like men can sacrifice themselves for their community in ways that go beyond giving birth to children and caring for small infants. Inclusive fitness[8] applies to women as well and not just men.

Women like men can further their genetic interests by protecting and looking after related kin and genetically similar individuals in their community. Women like men can further their genetic interests by contributing to society in ways that improve its prosperity without reproducing and this can directly improve conditions for their relatives and genetically similar individuals and thereby improve women’s reproductive success indirectly. Women can contribute in these ways, die in the process and still pass on their genes without reproducing themselves, just as men can. Sacrifice is not the sole domain of men.

The Reductive Lens Of Gynocentrism

The problem with gynocentrism is that it is by its nature reductive. Everything comes down to the female and pedestalising the female. Gynocentrism can distort people’s perception and understanding of biology itself. That is bio-gynocentrism. People can look at a group of whales or primates and see males on the outside and females and their offspring on the inside and conclude that is gynocentrism. No other explanation enters their minds.

The possibility that males might be on the perimeter not because they are less valuable, but because it best serves their genetic interests to protect their territory or guard against male rivals, is not considered. Even when such explanations are considered, they are ironically further explained as proof men are guarding the more valuable female as opposed to the possibility men are doing so for their own direct genetic benefit and nothing more.

Any further discussion is a waste of time. For the acolytes of bio-gynocentrism the female and reproduction is everything and they cannot be convinced otherwise. The gynocentric brainwashing by our culture is complete. Insect analogies are applied to humans and female mate choice is spoken of with an almost religious zeal and hyped up as some omnipotent force. The plethora of evidence and biology[9],[10],[11] demonstrating human males are a bit more complicated than male insects and that male mate choice, female intrasexual competition and mutual mate choice in humans is highly significant, is either ignored or downplayed.

It has never dawned on them that there is evidence all around us on what happens to genetic success when gynocentrism pervades the culture. The population does not breed and it dies away. That is the fate of our society if trends continue.

Gynocentrism Is Maladaptive

Gynocentrism is a maladaptive expression of our biology, it reduces reproductive success and the number of copies of the genes the community leaves behind. It destroys civilisation. Look at any modern developed nation that pedestalises female interests above all else, it is the same pattern. We did not evolve for gynocentrism to be some biological norm and that evidence again is all around us.

Sadly I think it will take the collapse of society for future generations to come to this realisation and how dysfunctional gynocentrism truly is. Females are merely one component in a much broader biological system that perpetuates itself. That applies especially to humans. Female well-being is hardly everything. Time to see the forest through the trees. We can treat women fairly and respectfully without deifying them.

References:

[1] https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/life-history-evolution-68245673/

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VygKQV-hEpY

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w__PJ8ymliw

[4] https://avoiceformen.com/featured/diagnosing-gynocentrism/

[5] https://avoiceformen.com/category/bio-gynocentrism/

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44-IpvZRfAw

[7] https://avoiceformen.com/featured/aggrieved-entitlement-womens-reaction-to-temporary-loss-of-chivalry/

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inclusive_fitness

[9]  https://www.stevestewartwilliams.com/publications/Stewart-Williams%20&%20Thomas,%202013.pdf

[10] https://www.psychologytoday.com/files/attachments/33284/stewart-williams-thomas-2013bpi.pdf

[11] https://www.stevestewartwilliams.com/publications/Stewart-Williams_2020_peacocks_or_robins.pdf

How To Stop School Shootings

The seemingly endless cycle of school shootings by young men continues in the USA, and as always more students lay dead. The usual scapegoats are wheeled out for blame: its the fault of Democrat policies, Republican policies, fatherlessness, gun availability, misogyny, inadequate school security and check-in cards, or perhaps people choose to blame police lethargy and lack of speedy intervention.

Over and over it goes, year in, year out. Nothing stops it.

Omitted from the above list is an alternative cause – a ‘poke a stick in your eye obvious’ factor that is the proverbial smoking gun, albeit one that literally everyone is too bigoted to acknowledge: lack of psychological and social supports for troubled young men.

Let me say that again: the cause of most school shootings is the lack of psychological and social supports for troubled young men.

Let me take a step back and explain how I arrive at this position. In my work I support troubled young men, and over time some of those men have expressed fantasies of acting-out murderously, along with their reasoning for same. The fantasies have real potential.

The first thing I note is that these men sometimes feel comfortable to express their murderous fantasies to someone they trust, or to someone they are hoping to gain emotional support from. After talking these fantasies through, having a space to express their reasoning, it becomes clear that many of them are terrified of both people and of the world – often with good reason – and their murderous musings are a wish to hurt other people before other people get a chance to hurt them. In other words, its a convoluted self-defense reflex.

Such men are often relentlessly assaulted by life, perhaps raised by one or both parents who are violent, neglectful, drug addicted, impoverished or emotionally abusive, or it may be that such men have a psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenia, paranoia, head-injury, or autism spectrum disorder that leads to them standing out at school and suffering years of bullying — bullying that almost always results in PTSD and a permanently anxious, hypervigilant, and frankly paranoid state of mind.

The antidote to much of their suffering is to make them feel safe (often for the first time in their lives) by providing genuine and ongoing support. I have listened to these men and assured them that they were not going to need to act out in order to protect themselves or to be heard by a deaf world, because I would pledge to visit regularly, be available on the phone, and accompany them to the shops or gym and help them communicate with, or protect them from others – effectively to be a bodyguard. I hasten to add that my need to protect them from various social or physical assaults was completely absent or at least negligible, as the potential threats had been exaggerated in their minds.

After providing this kind of support for young men, the change in their eyes and body language is nothing short of profound. The steely vigilance and fear in their eyes gives way to eyes projecting trust and thanks, and their stiff, combat-ready bodies relax – all visually palpable. And most importantly, after a short time of providing such support their conversation changes too – with no more talk of acting out, and often with a calm recognition of how extreme and unnecessary their former fantasies now seem to be.

Will such positive outcomes always result from offers of support? No, there will always be one man who is too psychotic or too damaged to reach, and who will take a gun to the streets regardless of support offered. But in the vast majority of cases I believe a positive outcome can be reached, and the vast majority of deaths spared.

Of course more father involvement or more mother involvement can help if they are savvy to the needs of their son – which is sadly not always assured regardless of more involvement. But I’d go further and say anyone-involvement will make an enormous difference if they are able to offer substantive support; father, mother, sibling, friends, neighbors, social workers, psychiatrists, paid support workers or yes even support animals. Any one of these people could make the difference between outcomes of safety, and avoidable killings.

The implementing a nation-wide program to support vulnerable young men could start with identifying which individuals or groups need support, and applying social campaigns and adequate funding. One study of 239 killers, for example, found that 21.34% had had a definite or suspected head injury, and a further 28.03% of them had definite, highly probable or possible autism spectrum disorder.1 This is not to suggest that autism causes people to be killers, but rather that autism combined with other factors such as bullying, isolation, lack of support etc. – the typical male experience – can lead to a pathological outcome.

As an aside I was pleased to learn former U.S. President Donald Trump had increased support funding of the Autism Cares Act,2 some of which will go to support boys whom the CDC says are four times more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder than girls.

If a culture of support could be extended to all vulnerable male demographics we’d have less need for the media with their gloating condemnation of young male perpetrators, and those same men could get the support they so desperately need.

References:

[1] Allely, C. S., Minnis, H., Thompson, L., Wilson, P., & Gillberg, C. (2014). Neurodevelopmental and psychosocial risk factors in serial killers and mass murderers. Aggression and violent behavior, 19(3), 288-301.
[2] Autism Bill Signed Into Law By President Trump

Note: The above article is not aimed at any specific school shooting, including the most recent in Texas, but rather to all such events collectively.

Heracles: A Slave To Guilt

Guilt is a trap used to enslave men. By citing real or concocted transgressions, people are quick to saddle men with guilt (you did wrong) and social shame (you are not a good man), charges which are then leveraged to extract male labor as a means of atonement. This dynamic of male existence is nowhere better illustrated than in the story of The Twelve Labors of Heracles.

Heracles (known to Romans as Hercules) is one of the best-known heroes of classical mythology. Looking past his admirable masculine swagger, we see that his life was no picnic. He endured many trials and completed many daunting tasks, with the reward for his struggles being that he might live forever as a Real Man™ among the mythical gods of Olympus.

Focusing on his misdemeanors or his great feats, but never on his pain (the story of everyman!), we tend to overlook the fact that Heracles life was beset by tragedy, exploitation, and stress, with many of his deeds driven by a desire to escape intolerable feelings of guilt. Like a determined MMA fighter Heracles took all of this in his stride, and the fact that he displayed courage, strength, skill and endurance while under stress deserves that we take a closer, and dare we say compassionate look at the demons that assailed him.

The story of the Twelve Labors of Heracles

The rise of guilt

There’s no doubt that Heracles’ feelings of guilt arose from the misdeeds he perpetrated; from his occasional insensitivity, to the more damning crime of murder (of which we will say more below). However, there was much more going on behind the scenes that worked to strain his composure and pushed him to commit such terrible deeds. The primary provocateur, who was constantly provoking him to lash out, was his step-mother Hera — the very same goddess who was pleased to see him tormented by guilt after his crimes had transpired.

Hera’s provocations of Heracles were not isolated to a few occasions, as she is said to have persecuted him from the moment of his birth and throughout his entire life; “Even as an infant not yet a year old,” tells the myth, “Hera sent venomous snakes to kill the boy while he slept in his cradle, but Heracles awoke and strangled them.”

Young Heracles killing a snake

We can conclude that Hera embodied the archetype of the spiteful feminist who frequently disdained men while viewing their role as one of service to women. After reading many of the Greek stories it’s fair to conclude that Hera can be considered, more than all the other goddesses, a poster girl for coercive control, manipulation, spite, jealousy and nagging – she is what we might call the Queen of relational aggression.

According to American sociologist Philip Slater, Hera represents narcissism in her attitude toward Heracles, stating that this was part of the reason she dealt the severest blows to him and imposed pain, grief, and labor on him — she both envied Heracles and wanted him to bring her status and glory.1 Representing a kind of love-hate dynamic, Slater summarizes:

Heracles is attacked in the womb, as an infant, and as a grown man, with Hera once again the persecutor. The attack which destroys him, however, comes after all of these, in his gruesome death on Mount Oeta. Even his labors are an expression of Hera’s malevolence, as well as many of the supplementary difficulties which he must endure in carrying them out.

Hera’s enmity toward Heracles is supposed initially to have been aroused by Zeus’s affair with Alcmene (Heracles’ mortal mother). This is an absurdly weak reason, since Zeus’s infidelities were legion, while no one suffered Hera’s wrath so persistently as Heracles. But we are not to expect too much reason and coherence from such a melange of unrelated and contradictory traditions. What we do know is that the relation between Hera and Heracles is an intense one, and by no means always negative. That we are left with the contradictions, largely unrationalized, suggests that such ambivalence did not seem altogether strange to the Greeks—that it tapped something meaningful in their experience.1 (p.340)

Heracles sent mad by Hera

Hera’s persecution eventually drove Heracles mad, by design, causing him to murder all his children and two sons of Iphicles. In some versions he also slew his wife Megara. When he recovered from the madness and realized what he had done an intolerable sense of guilt rose up in his soul. The Oracle at Delphi instructed him to serve Eurystheus and perform the many hard labors that would be set for him as the only way he could atone for his guilty deeds.

No sooner were these accomplished, however, than Heracles committed another murder for which the only way he could make amends was to be sold into slavery to Queen Omphale. While serving in this capacity he achieved several more heroic exploits, and followed up his slavery with a military expedition to Troy, the killing of a sea-monster, further battles, and a new marriage — one which was to bring about his death.1

Philip Slater states that Heracles tries, without succeeding, to renounce his raw instinctual nature in favor of developing a sanitized urban consciousness, a process that entails a transition from a primitive condition to a more modern subjection to “guilt culture.”1 He adds that the failure of Heracles to achieve this goal is perhaps why his ascendancy to Mt. Olympus is associated with so little sense of rejoicing, and his suffering so little regarded as a means to a divine end: it is never in the least clear, as Freud pointed out in his Civilization And Its Discontents, that the achievement of guilt and its subsequent atonement is worth all the trouble:

In any case, Heracles presents us with a curious contradiction. On the one hand he is all impulse, with his gross appetites and lack of restraint or foresight. On the other, he is a man engaged in chronic labor, with no release from suffering, no real love or enjoyment of life—a kind of unwitting adherent of the Protestant Work Ethic. Heracles is a civilizing force, but not civilized. He is proto-urban but not urban, chronically industrious without the capacity for sustained effort and self-denial. His is the blind and uncontrolled ambition out of which the capacity for civilization may accidentally arise. From his blocked pleasure derives the energy for cultural achievements. Yet he is, as noted, proto-urban, the force but not the product. He is like the crude lower-class racketeer who achieves economic success but not social respectability, and is rejected by his children for the very origins from which his success has insulated them.1 (p.388)

In the same way that Heracles is captured by Hera’s emotional snares, modern men are often subject to the same behavioral experiment both on a cultural level, and in their personal relationships. Routine inculcation of guilt saddles men with the feeling that they owe a debt, with a payback framed as servitude or slavery to the self-elected debtors.

Károly Kerényi, one of the founders of modern studies of Greek mythology, claims that Heracles demonstrates the characteristics of an archaic servant and rescuer of women.2 If this is an accurate assessment, Hera not only exploited his gynocentric tendencies but seeded in him an enduring anxiety over masculine destructiveness and the associated guilt burden – an anxiety that may have played a part in the hero’s eventual episodes of cross-dressing and other feminine displays.

Heracles engages in transvestitism

After completing his twelve labors, Heracles continued his adventures but he once again became subjected to exploitation and betrayal – this time by Eurytus, king of Oechalia. After his previous experiences, the new betrayals triggered a kind of PTSD response, sending him into a rage that resulted in him lashing out and killing the king’s son, Iphitus. We are not told whether the crime was self-inspired or the result of madness inflicted on him by Hera, but whatever the case Heracles then descended into a serious bout of insanity.

Heracles was exhausted by these events and appealed for help to cure his madness, and to lift the burden of guilt. He was answered by the Delphic Oracle who advised him to accept another period of slavery in order to cleanse his soul from guilt and atone for his blood crime.

It followed that he was sold into slavery to queen Omphale of Lydia, a subservient role considered shameful for a man, especially to a woman from Lydia which was considered a barbarian nation. During his new period of servitude, which lasted three years, Heracles undertook numerous labors in a similar way to his period of servitude to Eurystheus (12 labors), though his new labors were often trivial and demeaning:

There is general agreement that Heracles was Omphale’s slave and lover, and there are many stories concerning the effeminacy to which the hero was reduced during this bondage. Later authors describe, and painters show, how the couple exchanged clothes—Omphale donning the lion pelt, Heracles her golden gown, slippers, and jewelry [Plutarch; “Whether an Old Man Should Engage in Public Affairs” 785E]. There are various elaborations on this theme, such as Heracles being forced to spin or carry Omphale’s parasol, and a mistaken sexual approach to Heracles by Pan, but these are decidedly of later origin.1 (p.379)

Hercules and Omphale, by Gustave Boulanger (1861)

Later references in texts or art depicted Omphale wearing the skin of the Nemean Lion and carrying Heracles’ olive-wood club, while Heracles wore women’s clothing while being forced to do various kinds of women’s work which included holding a basket of wool while Omphale and her maidens did their spinning.

While Heracles engaged in episodes of transvestitism (he did this on two other occasions as well), we can assume his aim was not to become a female but to compensate for his previous existence. However, it’s intriguing that he did so without complaint when he could easily have resisted and preserved his masculine integrity – after all it was considered absolutely shameful and denigrating for a man to behave this way.

Did Heracles secretly desire time-out as relief from his existence in guilty masculinity? He could easily have avoided this humiliation by employing his legendary strength to either refuse or escape, but it seems he may have viewed such effeminization as less burdensome than the crushing sense of guilt that came with his natural masculinity.

Rejecting the shame of being branded a ‘toxic male’ is the task of all men today, as it was throughout history. In extreme cases men might choose to renounce their masculinity as a means of compliance, and we might also wonder if this sentiment is at work for at least a portion of men who cross-dress, or identify as transwomen. In such cases the solution tends to look more like a sickness than a cure.

The psychology of guilt

There’s a basic formula showing how accusations of toxicity, and associated guilting of males, is used as a means to increase male labor and productivity – a result that works well to the benefit of women, companies, and the State.

That formula is stated simply as – Aggression, Guilt, Repair.

It refers to a psychological process that happens when someone commits an aggressive or slightly destructive act and they notice the damage they have caused (or are made to notice the damage by others). This triggers an automatic guilt reaction for feeling that one has damaged people they love or care about and, after feeling guilty, they move to repair the damage.

It doesn’t matter whether the claims of destructiveness are accurate, somewhat trumped up, or completely fabricated; it has the same effect of generating concern in the minds of the accused, and they react with various attempts to fix the problem and smooth it over.

This formula is laid out by pediatric psychiatrist Donald Winnicott3 who described the process already at work in earliest childhood. During the first years, infants already show a concern over the results of their own destructiveness. Thus, when an infant bites his mother’s nipple hard, or screams and kicks, mother gets frustrated and upset and proceeds to walk away from the infant. At that moment the baby descends into a guilt state (becoming listless, crying, fearful), then when mother returns the baby goes all out trying to repair the damage – reaching out to hug mother, smiling, offering mother a rattle, etc. This again is the process of aggression – guilt – repair,4  and it’s a cycle repeated thousands of times during everyone’s infancy.

The repair efforts, it goes almost without saying, are absolutely vital to any infant who is dependent on his mother for existence, and so we all carry that primal fear of loss when momma walks out of the room…… will she return? As a social and pair-bonding species the concern is real, and no-doubt hardwired. The concern might also explain the popular cliché “If momma aint happy, aint nobody happy!”

Winnicott says that such reparative gestures underlie all productivity and labor in the wider social space – ie. that people want to contribute into society to atone for supposed past destructiveness, and especially on behalf of future destructiveness that has not yet happened (and may never happen!). People want to feel good with the world, and so they work to store-up capital in their reparative bank accounts – usually in the form of labor and financial accumulation, though it could equally be in the currency of thoughtfulness, deference, verbal compliments and the like.

When we consider that the reparative gestures more often take the form of labor – especially men’s labor – we could perhaps equally render Winnicott’s formula as Aggression – Guilt – Labor, and lose nothing of its meaning.

Here we note that the phrase ’emotional labor’ takes on a whole new, and very male sense.

On a more tangible level I’ve talked with a lot of men who admitted that when they feel they’ve done something bad, or that they’ve done something destructive in the eyes of their wife or partner, they go all-out trying to repair the damage. Not just giving her flowers, but they might labor around the yard or paint the interior of the house or some other manual task, and via these constant reparative gestures provide far more labor than would normally be the case. This unfortunately can become a sick game between couples; if a man (or woman) can be made to feel bad enough, and frequently enough, they become pathologically productive.

To that end, many men feel that their wives have become daughters of B. F. Skinner, regularly hearing the nagging din of “You’ve been very insensitive to me recently, and you haven’t even painted the house yet!”

Heracles life is paradigmatic of this cycle, showing the same pattern described by Winnicott in an endless loop; he commits destructive deeds, feels guilt and then attempts to repair the damage through hard labors. His desire to repair things often comes via contributing to society, by helpful assertions of strength to rid the world of monsters and lawless creatures, performing useful engineering feats, while at the same time vigorously denying any weakness that would slow him down.  As Slater observes;

The Heraclean myths also include the self-abasing strategy. This is inferred, not from his appearance as a buffoon in Attic drama, but from his role as a servant of the gods and a slave to women. He consistently performs “dirty work” for others, killing pests, cleaning the Augeian stables, herding cattle, reaping grain, and so on. Indeed, his entire life is one of suffering, servitude, and degradation, relieved only by his achievements and final apotheosis. From the slave of the cowardly Eurystheus he becomes the slave of Omphale, and is constantly being cheated of his wages (e.g., by Eurystheus, Augeias, Eurytus, and Laomedon).1 (p.375)

Heracles, and every man like him who labors compulsively is motivated to repair what he unconsciously feels are the results of his own destructiveness — even his potential destructiveness that may never manifest in real behavior. The mere potential of destructiveness is enough to set the compulsive work cycle in motion, especially if under the watchful direction of a scold.

We can only imagine what the world would look like if men were not operating under pressure of guilt; it would probably look more like a series of traditional villages than the marvels of frenetic civilization we see around us today. When it comes to measuring national productivity, the benchmark GDP should be equally interpreted as men’s Guilty Domestic Product.5

The mechanics of misandry

Misandry is not a simple scapegoating reflex, although that is a part of it. Misandric blaming is also an assist for increasing the power and enrichment of the State, of corporations, and of course women, because it increases men’s productivity.

The Heracles story highlights many elements of male existence, but especially misandry. Everybody disparages and treats him as toxic: Hera disparages him; the king he is in service to for twelve labors denigrates him; his Lydian slave-mistress demeans him, and so on. All through the story people are praising his legendary feats, but at the same time calling him toxic while he goes about his labors in an attempt to better both himself, and his reputation. Such denigration is where misandry derives its internal power, not only as a convenient method of scapegoating, but also as a built-in societal custom that ensures productivity.

That payoff is why misandry has remained normalized, but it doesn’t have to remain that way for conscious men.

Some of the phrases directed at men are proof of the desire to get men to labor; misandric phrasings like “You need to man up!” which often means a man needs to work harder. Men are called deadbeats (not producing enough money), ‘man-babies’ (for not wanting to overdo things nor put their health at risk), or Peter Pans (too busy enjoying life instead of working), or they may be characterized sarcastically as a ‘failure to launch’ (for younger men failing to rush headlong into a career and a job by which he can contribute his labor to society).

Or, in the recent past, what about the negative disparaging of a man as “gay” (whether he was or not), which implied such a man was failing to indenture himself in service womenfolk and family with some kind of productive contribution (gay men were busying themselves doing non-gynocentric things). On rare occasion a man might even assault or kill a homosexual man as if they were a proxy and reminder of his own beaten up, freedom-yearning soul. As ugly as this is, it provides an example of men’s indoctrination and internalized misandry that attempts to ‘put a man in his place,’ by violence if necessary.

In conclusion we can say that misandry is not only a vehicle for cathartic blame, but is more geared to ‘keep men in their place’ – and that place is to be a provider. Women in the long-ago past were similarly subjected to these ‘in your place’ roles, but those days are long gone in most developed nations.

It is now men’s turn to break the cycle and say no to imputed guilt, or at least refuse to make genuine guilt available for others to exploit. If you fail to protect yourself in this regard, you are on a fast track to slavery and, in all likelihood, are already there.

References

[1]. Philip Slater, The Glory Of Hera: Greek Mythology and The Greek Family, Beacon Press, (1968)
[2]. Károly Kerényi, The Heroes of The Greeks, Thames & Hudson, (1952)
[3]. Donald Winnicott, The Development Of A Capacity For Concern (1963), Chapter 6 in The Maturational Process And The Facilitating Environment, International universities Press, (1965)
[4]. Donald Winnicott, Aggression, Guilt and Reparation (1960), Chapter 16 in  Deprivation And Delinquency, Tavistock Publications, (1984)
[5]. Note: for those who are inclined to take comments literally, rest assured this comment about grass huts (and GDP) is intended hyperbole.

Women’s attraction to the ‘child archetype’

ARTICLES ON WOMEN’S ATTRACTION TO THE CHILD ARCHETYPE

Time To Throw The Baby Out With The Bathwater (P. Wright & P. Elam)
With This Ring I Thee Adopt (Esther Vilar)
The Child Archetype As Responsible for Woke Dystopia (Peter Wright)
The Biological Origins of Damseling
Fascinating Womanhood: How To Use Childlikeness to Manipulate Men (video)
Fascinating Womanhood: Women’s Introduction To Cultivating Childlikeness (pdf text)

‘Gynaecocentricity’ (poem published in 1903)

The following poem that appeared in the London Punch over a century ago (Vol. CXXV, August 5, 1903, p. 79), in response to the new ‘gynocentrism theory’ formulated by Lester F. Ward in which he proposed that woman is primary and essential in the evolutionary scheme; that originally and normally all things centre around women, and that man is a mere after-thought of nature.

Gynaecocentricity

Hence, androcentric theory,
Of ignorance and male perverseness born,
That doomst me night and morn
To endless labors, masculine and dreary.
Cribbed in some city den,
Where fog and darkness spread their sooty wings,
And the typewriter rings,
Thou bidst me toil and slave the long day long
Amid the madding throng,
With painful care driving a clerkly pen.
But come thou system, called by me
Sweet Gynaecocentricity!
Make me as a cypher, nought
But a trifling after-thought,
While to woman you restore
All the might was hers of yore.
Once again command that she
Man’s support and centre be,
Guiding with her wiser powers
All her own affairs and ours.
I would cling to MARY ANN,
I the woman, she the man;
Independence I would drop,
She the pole and I the hop.
Every privilege my sex
Would from MARY ANN’S annex
I would yield her up and be
Trampled under foot as she.
I would see her, sun or rain,
Hurry for the early train,
And only leave her desk to crunch
At 2 p.m. her lightning lunch.
Meantime I with prudent care,
To my work-box would repair,
Draw my knitting from the box,
Or proceed to darn the socks,
Or the garden I would seek,
Where soft Zephyrs fan the cheek;
There within the checkered shade
Which the weeping willows made
In my swinging hammock I
With my favorite books would lie,
And read and meditate and moon
Through all the lazy afternoon.
This give and I will live with thee,
Sweet Gynaecocentricity!

The above poem appears to be a sort of parody on Milton’s Allegro, which was widely copied by the global press.

___________________________________



Treating Anxiety With A New Narrative

By Peter Wright & Paul Elam

Anxiety may be the most pervasive “psychiatric” problem in the world. All the more interesting, then, that it is a problem with so little general attention in the media and the medical establishment.

The symptoms can be a mildly annoying, with the occasional and temporary sense of unrest and unease. The reasons for it happening maybe quite obvious at the time. Then again, it can appear to come straight out of the blue. It can come or go without visible “triggers,” like high-stress events.

In more extreme, but very common incidents of the disorder, the symptoms can be life-diminshing, horrific experiences. Full blown anxiety attacks, commonly known as “panic attacks” include tachycardia (rapid, runaway pulse), sweating palms, frightening disorientation, an overwhelming sense of impending death or doom and crippling levels of fear that last anywhere from minutes to hours.

Even when the sufferer knows the events are not lethal; even after experiencing them hundreds of times, it does not put the sufferer at ease during an attack. Each one is as bad as the last. It can become a living hell in which the sufferer feels like a ticking time bomb in between debilitating attacks.

The Latin root of anxiety is angere which means to choke, squeeze or compress tightly. That’s what happens to our bodies when anxiety hits – our chest muscles seize up and breathing tightens. Our neck constricts and creates a lump in the throat. We choke on the words, can’t get them out. Lips, face, hands, legs stiffen and make it hard to move, and our blood vessels constrict to create tension headaches. It’s as if we are caught by a giant who squashes us in his fist.

Anxiety disorders are the most common of all psychiatric complaints, appearing at twice the rate of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar illness.1 Anxiety is characterized by:

a. bodily symptoms of tension, racing heart, shakiness or sweating.

b. state of uneasiness, nervousness, dread, distress, fear, panic and in extreme cases terror.

c. apprehension about failure, misfortune or danger.2

Anxiety also colors the way we think, feel and act. “It is a petty monster,” writes author Daniel Smith “able to work such humdrum tricks as paralyzing you over your salad, convincing you that a choice between blue cheese and vinaigrette is as dire as that between life and death.”3

Numerous forms exist, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, performance anxiety, stranger anxiety, agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, situational anxiety, phobias and panic disorder to name but a few. Each has its own peculiarities and triggers (though they may be very difficult to identify), and each requires a different approach to understand and manage it.

With so many anxiety disorders, we will limit ourselves to a category affecting men, one that you won’t find mentioned in the textbooks on therapists desks.

The anxiety disorder with no name

In the past, psychologists have spoken of ‘performance anxiety’ and ‘castration anxiety’ as ways to understand men, but these terms do not go near far enough. Men’s anxieties are born of far broader concerns than having a metaphorical (or real) penis chopped off.

The cause of men’s anxiety, in this case, is the the entire misandric culture they must daily rise from bed to face. Most men will be unaware of this as facing and dealing with misandric pressures is socially forbidden and often sequestered behind a wall of denial. It’s the culture itself that demands they perform, be in service, be under constant scrutiny and suspicion for wrongdoings, and one that will penalize them if they step out of line.

In that sense, men’s denial of that anxiety is a survival mechanism.

As a man in this world, if you are NOT anxious then there is either something terribly wrong with you or you are one of the lucky few who has unlocked the answers to this problem.

All men (and boys) are under assault from social forces and the resultant anxiety is a natural response. These forces berate you every minute about your supposed violent tendencies, about rape culture, child maintenance, alimony and manning up for women. All of this punishes you with the stress of failure or the stress of disobedience. The whole society you live in colludes to keep you silent about all of it.

So let’s talk about it. In fact, lets also give it a name – Misandric Culture Anxiety (MCA). To be perfectly blunt, we are asserting that the modern male gender role and the unattainable demands it places on boys and men in misandric culture causes mental illness in men.

Among the many causes of anxiety, MCA is one of the big ones. And if you happen to have another underlying anxiety disorder, MCA will exacerbate it. If you have social phobias, MCA will make you even more nervous about mixing with other people.

If you take Valium or alprazolam (Xanax) for generalized anxiety disorder, the added load of MCA will tempt you to unilaterally increase your dose. This is highly dangerous in terms of tolerance and addiction. Both Valium and Xanax are benzodiazepines which can have bad synergistic side effects with alcohol and which can both result in dangerous withdrawal symptoms from high doses over a prolonged period of time. Actually, withdrawal from these drugs can possibly kill you.

The other problem, even aside from MCA, is that of tolerance. Like most other drugs, tolerance develops and higher doses are needed for the same therapeutic benefit. While they may provide short term solutions, these psychoactive drugs are a treatment that can easily become worse than the problem they are treating.

While anxiety attacks may have very obscure triggers, reducing the overall exposure and impact of MCA on our lives can reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with it. Before touching on ways to do that, lets first have a look at the way men have traditionally dealt with it – by self-medicating, often destructively, as a way of reducing the choke-hold of anxiety.

Is it any wonder men drink more alcohol?

How many times are cocktails after work to “de-stress” actually just a form of self-medication for anxiety? How much of that becomes problem drinking because of tolerance? How many other drugs, particularly benzodiazepines, are combined with alcohol or otherwise abused to provide more synergistic effect on the anxiety?

Anxiety can be difficult to treat. There are no magic cures and the many manifestations of anxiety require varied responses. However, there are general strategies that can, for many men, reduce anxiety and with it the need to self-medicate. The first thing to investigate is potential or known triggers, a no-brainer, but in this model it is done in conjunction with assessing the self-narratives that might be needlessly, pointlessly placing you in front of those triggers. If for instance your anxiety is triggered by a desire to provide for a woman, creating anxiety lest you fall short or fail in your “duty,” then you need to rewrite that narrative with one that changes your behavior and attitudes.

If you can’t pinpoint the triggers, or they are ones you can’t avoid, there are still ways to reduce the intensity of your anxiety. Neurofeedback treatments, along with efforts to monitor your body’s emotional arousal will help you better detect anxiety levels and apply strategies to regulate their intensity. But first you have to agree to pay attention to your own needs and well-being – something many men have a hard time doing.

Meditation, breathing control, exercise, reducing caffeine (and other stimulants) can also help. Even some forms of cannibis are now demonstrating anxiolytic effects, though regarding that as a singular approach is something we deem to be unwise. Drugs that mask problems, even non addictive ones, do not ultimately lead to addressing the root causes of the problem.

In some people, anxiety can be more or less “cured,” yet in others its symptoms can be made much more manageable. As always, the dedication and determination of the sufferer will have the greatest impact on results.

It is a complicated subject which we will be handling in a series of articles in the future which are focused on solutions.

One thing is certain, at least in our opinion. Any efforts to address anxiety issues in men without an intense focus on narrative reconstruction are substandard. If you want to reduce anxiety, you must change the expectations you place on yourself which produce it in the first place. You will also need to withdraw permission from the people in your circles, and society at large, to burden you with their expectations.

References

[1] Daniel Smith, It’s Still the ‘Age of Anxiety.’ Or Is It? – New York Times, (Jan 2012)
[2] Andrew M. Colman, Oxford Dictionary of Psychology, (2009)
[3] Daniel Smith, It’s Still the ‘Age of Anxiety.’ Or Is It? – New York Times, (Jan 2012)

Psychology For Men

A New Psychology For Men
The “One True Masculinity”
Servant, Slave and Scapegoat
Men Authoring Their Own Lives
Narrative Therapy With Men
Hephaeutus: Living With A Disability
Apollo – God Of Incels
When Male Anger Is Legitimate
Treating Anxiety With A New Narrative
Heracles: A Slave To Guilt